Updated: Apr 30
I sat across from my mom in her room at the rehabilitation center, ready, willing, and able to keep her company whenever she woke up. This was not where I would like to be seeing Mom this weekend as I only make the trek from Florida three to four times a year to visit.
Facing the current circumstances, I wondered if it could be the last time I would see her on this earth. It was sad to think this, but being a realist, at her age and having recently had a mild stroke, one never knows.
As she lay comfortably in her hospital bed, I can’t help but reminisce about the years we have spent together. I remember Mom for her larger-than-life persona when I was knee-high to Grasshopper. She then became wise beyond her years as I began school and she helped me with my homework and test preparation. Mom was my nurse, tending to the several cuts and bruises that a little boy accumulated during their raucous, energy-fueled adventures, and she was my biggest cheerleader, never missing a game in which I played on the baseball diamond.
Then came the period where I thought Mom was lame, uncool, and out to embarrass me at every opportunity. I would choose not to go out in public with her so I could avoid being seen with her by someone I knew. I then went through the phase where I knew more than she did and could not understand why she just didn’t “get” me.
The rebellious years were my way of fighting back against the perceived wrongs that I endured as a preteen. I was going to sow my oats and no one was going to keep me from doing what I wished. At my most disrespectful point, my mother had thrown in the towel. She could no longer control me and I had won. Or had I?
Eventually, I grew to understand just how much my mom did understand, care, love, and protect me as best she knew how. In fact, I came to realize that Mom had performed to near-perfection in rearing her first, and only son. I recognized the sacrifices she made to provide a better upbringing for her children than she had experienced in her childhood.
I knew Mom prayed for me; often. I also knew that she never gave up, and never stopped loving me despite how hard I tried to push her away. Mom persevered in her role and patiently stood close by allowing me to find my way in this world and ultimately, my way back home. Mom had trusted God to be faithful in answering her prayers of love, mercy, and protection.
As I sat and watched her every move, I began to see her in a totally new light. Forget the fact I have been around her for over 56 years and that she turns 92 next month; today I saw her quite differently.
Today, in my mom, I see years and years of loving her family and serving them well. Every wrinkle, gray hair, bump, bruise, and scrape, she is war-torn and battle-tested in this beautiful thing we call life. Regardless of whatever came her way, she faced it with steadfast love, and Jesus.
If this was our last goodbye for now, I have some wonderful memories of how she helped mold me into the loving husband, father, son, brother, nephew, uncle, and friend that I am. I might be tooting my own horn here but I am proud to say my Momma, and Dad raised a pretty good man.
Perfect I am not, however, when the chips are down, I can be counted on to do the right thing in every situation, which is a testament to how I was raised. This apple did not fall far from the Harper tree. I came from good stock, was brought up in a loving, Christian home, and was taught right from wrong and personal responsibility from a very young age.
Thanks, Mom, for doing it right, and for being a great example for me to follow. I love you, Mom!